What Every Executive Job Seeker Needs to Know About Networking
Your executive job search seems to be going nowhere. You probably should be networking more, but it’s a challenge for you. If you’re an introvert, it may be even more daunting than for others.
Maybe this is what you’re thinking . . .
“I’m terrible at networking. I hate asking people for favors. I’ll skip that part.”
Too many of the executive job seekers I speak with have neglected their network for years, while they were securely employed.
They didn’t think they needed these people. Then, they’re suddenly thrown into a job search and have to scramble to rebuild their network.
We all should approach career management knowing that no job is permanent. We need to actively nurture our networks throughout our careers, whether employed or not.
Without networking, you won’t get to the so-called “hidden job market” where most executive jobs reside. According to Executive Talent Agent Debra Feldman, they are jobs that:
- Were budgeted for but, for whatever reason, have not yet been announced.
- Only internal people know about. The jobs won’t be created until internal processes are in place.
- Depend on an incumbent leaving. The company doesn’t want the public to know about them.
- Were created to accommodate a specific person because of their potential value to the company.
The perfect job for you may never be posted anywhere! It may only exist in the hidden job market.
Understand what smart executive job search networking is really about
Networking is not asking for a job or a job lead.
It’s about getting AIR. Networking can rejuvenate how you feel about your job or your job search the same way oxygen reenergizes your body.
AIR is an acronym that stands for:
- Advice (career advancement, job search, career-changing)
- Information (company, industry trends, news)
- Recommendations (associations to join, books to read, skills to develop, people to talk to)
A low-pressure strategy to rebuild your executive job search network
Here’s one of the suggestions in my post How Do I Rebuild My Network for Executive Job Search? This should make networking a little more comfortable.
Reconnect with your existing network.
Connect more deeply with the people you already know. Reach out to friends, colleagues, various associates, current and former customers/clients, vendors, fellow members of professional associations, etc.
Think of all the people you know, across various aspects of your personal and professional lives. Include people like your hair stylist or barber.
- Circle back to them and briefly apologize for not re-connecting sooner.
- Find out what they’re up to and update them on what you’ve been doing.
- But don’t rudely burst into a request for them to help you get a job.
- Reconnect first and revive the relationship.
Practice “give to get” networking.
Don’t expect favors without giving something in return. Do something nice for them first. Networking that works for everyone is all about helping, sharing, finding common ground, and being a good listener.
One suggestion when reconnecting is to send them a link to an article or blog post that is relevant to them.
Once you’ve connected with them a few times, you can ask them if they have any connections at your target companies. And see if they’d be willing to recommend you and/or write you a letter of introduction showcasing some of your qualifications.